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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A place of our own

That chair you see above used to be in the office at the rectory. We've carted it around for the last 15 years in three different rectories.

It sits, now, in Ms. Conroy's favorite spot in the sun room at Llangollen, our wee cottage which used to be our vacation/retreat place, which we are now making our year-round home on the marsh lands of Rehoboth Bay, part of the Delmarva Peninsula, in the 'first state' of Delaware.

Ms. Conroy's position as Clinical Director of an inpatient hospice unit in Northern New Jersey is not as "portable" as mine or some others. In a little over a year's time, she will transfer to a new inpatient hospice facility which is being planned just up the road a piece.

Until then, she'll stay in a small apartment with a friend in NJ. We'll commute as often as we can - she coming here two or three weekends a month and me going up to NJ for various commitments I still have to things diocesan and local.

We've done this before, this "commuting thing". It was 1991 when I took my first position in the great Diocese of Newark. It was only supposed to be "for a few months". She and our youngest daughter moved to NJ from Baltimore, MD in 1993. We've called NJ "home" ever since.

On September 1, Delaware will officially become our home. I've just put in a bottle of champagne to chill for the occasion. It's a bit like waiting for Christmas.

If "home is where the heart is" then this has really been our home all along. It's just taking some time to finally "arrive".

It seemed important to me to create a space - a place - for Ms. Conroy in her favorite spot in the house. It's in the South West corner. If she looks toward the West, she can see Indian River just past Long Neck Road where the sea bass have been especially plentiful this year, I understand.

If she looks toward the East, she can see Rehoboth Bay and the boats coming and going on their way to go fishing or crabbing or just the experience of the sheer joy of being on a boat in the water.

If she looks directly ahead, to the North, can see into the living room, the new office/library, and the front door - the place where our two dogs, Mr. Lenny and Ms. CoCo provide endless entertainment in what we've come to call "Dog TV".

Sometimes, for absolutely no discernible reason, Lenny and CoCo get what Ms. Conroy calls "puppy crazies". They chase each other round and round - from the living room to the window in the library/office and back again.

They run and run and run. Stop suddenly, panting. Then, they take off again. Until someone calls - or 'barks' - uncle. And then, it stops and they collapse in an exhausted heap at our feet.

It's great fun to watch them. "Dog TV". We never grow tired of the reruns. And, they're all reruns.

This spot is "her" place. Here. At home. Where the heart is.

We all need that place. Doesn't have to be very big. Indeed, most of the places of the heart are not very fancy or opulent. It needs not be large at all.  It simply needs to be big enough to hold your genuine hopes and dreams, your sincere longings and the deep desires of your heart.

This is that place for Ms. Conroy. Mine is directly across the room, past the table where we gather when the family is all together and share a meal, play board or card games, or talk long into the evening with a glass of wine or mug of steaming hot tea.

Sometimes, when it's quiet, we'll both look up from our places, aroused by the memory of laughter or conversation that sometimes floats above that table.  And we share a deep, satisfied smile before we return to reading, or needlework or our laptops.

It will be good to have her here, full time.

Until then, she has a place of her own.

Waiting for her. Here. At home.

19 comments:

eileen said...

Looks like a heavenly place!e

IT said...

Wanting to be Home--I know that feeling. It's why I decided to become a 6-hr a day Power Commuter rather than spend any more time in the "extra apartment" miles away from Home. I hope the time comes quickly when Ms Conroy can enjoy her chair EVERY night.

Muthah+ said...

Today I work on my bedroom and the office. Yes, having a place is so important. I am so glad you have made this move. It will be so much better when the Ms will be there full-time.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Puppy crazies at your house = dog party at mine. Sometimes at 3 a.m.

Holly said...

Your "new" home looks wonderfully comfortable and hospitable! I have somehow missed the story leading up to the move. Could you provide a recap for those of us who are occasional readers? What projects, plans, or promises have led you to this move? I hope that you will continue to be a voice of hope in the Episco-blogosphere.

suzanne said...

How lovely.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Long story very, very short - about 12-14 months in a few sentences: I was told to stop talking about mission. "Mission is a luxury" they said. I wouldn't. It got ugly. Finally, I negotiated a year off with full pay and benefits. I will be doing some post-doc work as Proctor Fellow at EDS Spring Semester, 2011, and then decide what I want to be when I grow up. Or, more precisely, how to be a priest for Jesus whilst trying to stay the hell away from some of his followers. (LOL)

All will be well - it was just hell getting here. I'm still trying to be . . . what's the word that's all in the news . . . ah, yes "sensitive". Most of the parish is in the "anger" phase of their grief. Don't want to throw petrol on the fire, and yet deal with my own emotions. If that makes sense. So, I've been burying the information in the comment section. Which is perhaps why you haven't been quite up to speed.

It's going to be okay. I'm home. And, as the Bishop's Canon said to me, "Their future is not your responsibility."

Working on the self-differentiated self stuff is a real *****

Bill said...

There’s an old “truism” which states, “You can’t go home”. That “home” refers to the home of memories. You can’t go back because it no longer exists as you remember it. Things and places change over the years. People have moved away while old friends and relatives have passed on. It’s just not the same. On the occasion when I have driven through old neighborhoods, I see it not as it is now, but as I remember it. And then the sadness sets in as reality replaces fantasy and the “now” pushes aside the memories of the past.
Where then is home? Well, another truism has it, that home is where the heart is. I might add to that and say that home is where happiness is. Home is where you can sit on warm summer nights and just talk into the wee hours with someone dear to your heart. Home is where you can share a cup of hot cocoa with your loved one on a chilly evening, while listening to the wind howl and the rain pelting endlessly against the window pane. Home is your comfort zone. And yes, home is where you can close your eyes and remember all those places, people, and things that have defined home down through the years.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are so right, Bill. I guess that's where that expression comes from "home is where the heart is."

David |Dah • veed| said...

"Mission is a luxury"

¡Dios mio! I am stupefied! Mission is the heart of the Gospel. Without mission there is no church.

Lucky that you got out before the roof fell in on what must just be a social club posing as church.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Sorry, I got sidetracked.

You are really going through some healing. I can sense it from here I am sure.

How wonderful, your own little wee home on the water. A place of your own. Not a fishbowl. You can do with it what you wish. A place to continue to create great memories. A place where you and Ms. Conroy can gracefully age together like fine distilled beverages.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Darling, You don't know the half of it. I would call them "a social club at prayer" except there were three or four of them who, whenever they were in church - on Sunday - would stand outside in the glass narthex and have animated conversations.

When I approached one, she whined, "But, this is the only time I get to see my friends."

Hand to Jesus.

So, for some, it was really just a social club, minus the prayer. Or, as one commented to me, "I see the church as an ice cream truck, delivering good things to people".

I am NOT making that up.

Now, they weren't all that way, but there were enough that - along with a resistance to doing mission - to feel like the marrow was being sucked right out of my bones.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Dahveed, my darling. Llangollen has always been a place of healing for me. I'm really looking forward to living there.

Holly said...

Oh, Elizabeth -- I am so sorry to hear of the trouble leading to the move, but agree with David that you are healing into a new and exciting place. As a layperson, let me say that there ARE some of us who yearn for a church that would help us be the people that Jesus would have us be and are only holding on to the institutional church with our fingernails. Any reflections you might have about what laypeople can do in that situation would be most appreciated.

eileen said...

Whew..I was wondering if I had missed something Elizabeth.

Truth be told, it sounds a lot what like what my rector is facing in our current congregation.

We should provide mission - but not if it will cost us anything, or bring people unlike us to our church doors, or otherwise upset the apple cart. Ugh. You poor thing.

Riley said...

Home is where the heart is, indeed. Yours looks very warm and cozy. Comfortable, the way a home should be.

I love your table, btw. Is it Knotty Pine or Alder?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, y'all. I have had this feeling for months that something really, really wonderful is just right around the corner. I'm so peaceful about that.

@ Riley - you know, I think its knotty pine, but it may be adler. I'll have my friend check it next time I'm there. I'm back in Chatham, tending to details and getting ready for our daughter's wedding on Saturday.

Cheryl said...

So sorry to read of recent troubles although they seem to have been sent by God. You have landed in the right place on the way to something spectacular. One fly, more of Ms. Conroy's presence. That will come also.

susankay said...

When I was a freshman/woman in college, we were read the "Wind in the Willows" chapter about going/coming home before we left for Christmas vacation. It is a treasured memory of those years.

I had a commuting marriage for a year or more. I job-shared a position in Vineland, NJ with a guy from Dallas -- I really lived in an hundred plus year old adobe in small village north of Albuquerque, NM. Coming home to love, quiet and altitude was always such a gift. Sea level would do as well as altitude.

May you both be as well as we were during that time.

And about the rest -- so very sorry -- but there a whole bunch of kids who will read their baptismal letters and rejoice -- and never turn into chattering folks.